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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Salt Dried Basil - A Great Way to Preserve

When basil starts to blossom, it's close to the end of its lifespan.  There are not many ways of preserving basil that keep its taste.  If you simply dry it, you end  up with pretty tasteless stuff.  But if you dry it this way, in salt, you will keep much of the taste and will be able to enjoy it for a long time.

You will need kosher salt, a lot of cleaned basil leaves,

 a cardboard box (don't use plastic - you need it to breathe), and a roll of paper towels.
Begin by placing a double layer of paper towel in the bottom of the box.  Sprinkle about a tablespoon or so of kosher salt evenly over the towel.
 Spread a layer of basil leaves over the salt-sprinkled towel.  It's best if they don't overlap - that will cause them to stick together.
 Then sprinkle another tablespoon or so of kosher salt over the leaves.
Like so.
 Cover that layer of leaves with another paper towel and repeat the process.  You can do as many layers of leaves, salt, and paper towels as the box will hold.
 Here I have six or seven layers of salted leaves.
 Now, place something heavy that evenly covers all of the paper towel.  I use magazines (Vanity Fair is especially good for this since it is somewhat heavy).

Put the box in an out of the way place and check on it in about six weeks.
The leaves should be dry and somewhat brittle.  Store them in a jar along with some of those moisture absorbing dessicant packets that you find in various products, like vitamins, etc.  The leaves may have some residual moisture and the packets will keep them from spoiling.

An added bonus - You can save the salt, which now has a wonderful basil infusion.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Tuesdays in the garden

Tuesday evenings from 7:00 - 8:30 PM, the garden is the HOT place to be.

Come enjoy the community and beauty while helping us harvest, weed and generally tend to the pantry donation plots.

Many hands make light work!!!

Construction is moving right along on our new shed. YEAH!!!!!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Construction Has Begun

Construction has begun on our new shed!!!!! Our old "Armstrong Shed" served us well for over three years but use and weather had taken their toll on it. So, it was retired and set out to pasture on Harold's farm. A very generous angel has donated the funding for this new shed. It will be 8 x 15 when completed so it will provide a little more storage space and should also be more secure.
If your squash plants are dying like this, even though you are watering them, it's because they have been attacked by squash vine borers.  They dig into the base of the plant's stem and chew it up, killing the plant.  By the time they get into the plant, there's little you can do.

I've had some luck in dowsing the stems with Dipel dust while they are growing and before they get attacked.  There are other remedies, but most people say that few of them are fool proof.

The damage is done by the larva of the squash vine bug, a beautiful creature that somewhat resembles a red wasp.  Here's a picture.

Waiting until later in the season may to plant squash may reduce the possibility of infestation.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My daughter, Abby, and I were making our way from one end of our plot to the other, when we came across an awesome suprise!! I just had to share this picture of her-- so cute!! Plus, we were there to witness Ben and his potats! Congrats Basil Ben! I am so proud to share my wonderful gardening experience with my children and this amazing community! Thanks everyone for all the tips and tricks to having a successful harvest!